The Basics

As mentioned before, there are different styles in different regions, but certain things are fairly consistent.  When it's possible, most things are made from scratch, from the flour to the fat.
Africans in the diaspora often have had to make due with what was available in their region, but for those who remember, the style remains the same.  You want to buy local and fresh as often as possible, and get the most nutrition out of your food.  You may also have to supplement to get certain needs met, depending on the specifics of your ancestry.  In another section of this site we'll go into what certain things you've heard members of your family have done, mean you might need in your diet.
The basis of the African diet is fruits and vegetables.  Greens of many sorts are enjoyed by Africans in the contenent and out.  Leafy, green vegetables are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Africans also go for foods that are rich in Vitamin D.  Darker skin means better ultraviolet rays filtering, but also less Vitamin D being produced by the skin.  So we eat lots of shrimp, eggs, and oily fish.
Our main source of starches are tubers (starchy root vegetables like cassava) and gluten free or low gluten grains.  Most of us can handle small amounts of gluten from wheat and barley, but there's a limit to how much of it we can take without having an intolerance reaction.  It's not quite an allergy for most of us as it is a kind of overdose.  So the most popular grains in Africa are teff, millet, and sorghum.  Very little wheat is used, and when it is, it's almost always supplemented by other grains.
...and speaking of grains, most of the time they're fermented before cooking.  Fermenting makes them more digestible, and provides good bacteria that benefit digestion in general.  Some grain dishes require fermenting overnight, and some for days.